Beautiful Children’s Books for Black History Month

I love children’s books.  In fact, I usually find myself perusing the shelves in the children’s section of the bookstore more for myself than for the kids.  And many of the books on this list I just want for myself.

Here are 10 books great for Black History Month and worth of keeping on the book shelf to read any time of year.
Psssst… We compiled a great list of thingsyou can do to celebrate Black History Month in Richmond, VA.

Henrys Freedom box
Henry’s Freedom Box
by Ellen Levine, Illustrations by Kadir Nelson.
Richmonders may be particularly familiar with Henry “Box” Brown who mailed himself from Richmond to Philadelphia in 1849. Kadir Nelson’s images are absolutely beautiful.


Of Thee I Sing
By Barack Obama, Illustrated by Loren Long
Now our 44th president and first black president, Barack Obama‘s letter to his daughters profiles thirteen groundbreaking Americans and the ideals that have shaped our nation. From the artistry of Georgia O’Keeffe, to the courage of Jackie Robinson, to the patriotism of George Washington, President Obama sees the traits of these heroes within his own children, and within all of America’s children.

When Marian Sang

When Marian Sang
By Pam Munoz Ryan, Illustrations by Brian Selznick
Honor Book for the 2003 Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award, When Marian Sang combines the stunning illustrations of award winning illustrator Brian Selznick with Ryan’s moving story telling.  Ages 4 and up.

By Nikki Giovanni, Illustrations by Brian Collier
Award-winning poet, writer, educator and activist Nikki Giovanni creates a beautiful and honest tribute to Mrs. Parks and how she became such an iconic and important figure in the civil rights movement.
The beautiful illustrations of collage and water color earned Rosa the 2006 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award.


Sugar Hill
Sugar Hill

By Carole Boston Weatherford, Illustrations by R. Gregory Christie
Experience Harlem’s Sugar Hill thought the beautiful paintings of R. Gregory Christie and upbeat, rhyming st story by poet Carole Boston Weatherford.  Sugar Hill tells the stories of the those who shaped the Harlem Renissance including brief biographies of Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Sonny Rollins, and Miles Davis, Aaron Douglas and Faith Ringgold, Lena Horne and the Nicholas Brothers and more.

harlem little black bird

Harlem’s Little Blackbird
By Renee Watson, illustrated by Christian Robinson
Tells the story of Florence Mills, the “Queen of Happiness”
“Her dancing and singing catapulted her all the way to the stages of 1920s Broadway where she inspired songs and even entire plays! Yet with all this success, she knew firsthand how bigotry shaped her world. And when she was offered the role of a lifetime from Ziegfeld himself, she chose to support all-black musicals instead.”

I too am america

I, Too, Am America
Langston Hughes, illustrated by Bryan Collier
The powerful words of Langston Hughes are even more breathtaking when paired with the award winning illustrator Bryan Collier. Winner of the 2013 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award.

Ruth and the green book
Ruth and the Green Book
By Calvin A. Ramsey, illustrated by Floyd Cooper
In this historical fiction story, Ruth and her family, Ruth and the Green Book tells a tale about the real Green Book -a guide that helped African American travelers find friendly hotels, restaurants, and other businesses.

Splash of Red

A Splash of Red
The Life and Art of Horace Pippin
By Jen Bryant and illustrated by Melissa Sweet
A story of perseverance, Horace Pippin was a self taught painter born in 1888, after being shot in the arm in WW1, Pippin became a MOMA artist.  A Robert F. Sibert Honor Book, Winner of the Schneider Family Book Award, An ALA-ALSC Notable Children’s Book, Winner of the NCTE Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children.

Let freedom sing
Let Freedom Sing

Illustrated by Vanessa Newton
Vanessa Newton’s gorgeous 1950’s inspired illustration take you through the history of the Civil Rights Movement woven in to the tune of “This Little Light of Mine”